: need CONSTRUCTIVE feedback on a used CTS-V...if you have a few min, please step in!



SeksTS-V
12-14-10, 10:47 PM
Hello all.. new to the forum.. been looking at CTSV's on and off over the past few years. I love the styling, and I love having a 4-door Corvette. I think I'm ready now.

I'd like constructive feedback on the following car:

2004 CTS-V with approximately 60k miles
3-owner car (I will be the 4th)
Been in Illinois most of its life (until 2009, when it came to Southern CA) - how's the weather up in IL?
Clean title (no accidents, no paintwork of any type- all original)

Has had the following maintenance (completed under warranty):

5k differential carrier assembly replacement (is this a recall/tsb?)
38k radio replaced (dead pixel - owner was "anal-retentive")
43k power door lock assembly wiring
44k passenger headrest (not sure why...)
44k clutch replaced
44k clutch system bled
44k slave cylinder replaced
44k flywheel replaced
44k transmission replaced
45k exhaust manifold replaced
45k ignition system wiring (recall i think?)
45k O2 sensor replaced
46k new battery
53k reverse gear synchro replaced (it was sometimes hard to put into R)
all recalls and service bulletins completed

Recent:
new tires dunlop
new front brakes
new MAF sensor
new air filter

The car is currently out of warranty (expired in February of this year). I do not plan on purchasing a 3rd-party extended warranty.

So I'm not sure...is it a GOOD thing that all these parts have been replaced (meaning, I won't have to replace it myself down the line), or is it a BAD thing that all these parts have been replaced (meaning, car was abused and driven to the ground) ???

I've had a 1998 Corvette (automatic) which I owned from 57k miles til 64k miles...and a 2006 300 SRT8 which I owned from 36k miles til 38k miles.. both were trouble free for me, although I did not own them for a long time. The other cars I've owned were a 2002 M3 and a 2003 M3, both of which were trouble free as well.

I guess what I want to know is if this car has a thumbs up - buy it... or a red flag - pass on it? The price is good from what I can tell comparing other for sale listings.

Thank you, and hopefully I join the community.

chitown21y
12-14-10, 10:56 PM
I think its a toss up with the parts being replaced. I would drive it and feel it out. Listen for whining from the axle ect. IL weather sucks and watch for rust. Whats the price?

calidave
12-14-10, 11:11 PM
Any idea at what mileages the car changed hands? Was the "anal-rententive" owner still the owner at 43-45k? And yes, we need price as well.

SeksTS-V
12-14-10, 11:16 PM
I think its a toss up with the parts being replaced. I would drive it and feel it out. Listen for whining from the axle ect. IL weather sucks and watch for rust. Whats the price?

Whats the best way to listen to the axle whine?
What spots should I check for rust?


Any idea at what mileages the car changed hands? Was the "anal-rententive" owner still the owner at 43-45k? And yes, we need price as well.

Owner 1 to owner 2, Im not sure...
but Owner 2 (anal retentive) sold it to owner 3 at 47k, so yes, he had it during 43-45k when all the clutch stuff was changed.
.
.
.
Price is $18k.

calidave
12-15-10, 12:38 AM
Well, if the second owner was anal-retentive, he'd have known the factory warranty expired at 50k (it's a little more difficult to get stuff replaced under the GMPP). If you ask me, it sounds like he may have come up with plausible enough reasons to have all that stuff replaced (if they replaced the radio for one stuck/dead pixel, he's either really good or has an awesome service writer). I'd be more worried about the IL weather and the rust. For $18k though, it doesn't sound like a bad deal. I live in central California, so I couldn't begin to tell you where to look for rust.

SeksTS-V
12-15-10, 01:12 AM
Well, if the second owner was anal-retentive, he'd have known the factory warranty expired at 50k (it's a little more difficult to get stuff replaced under the GMPP). If you ask me, it sounds like he may have come up with plausible enough reasons to have all that stuff replaced (if they replaced the radio for one stuck/dead pixel, he's either really good or has an awesome service writer). I'd be more worried about the IL weather and the rust. For $18k though, it doesn't sound like a bad deal. I live in central California, so I couldn't begin to tell you where to look for rust.

i need to make a correction... the reverse-gear synchro at 53k was completed by the current owner, fixed at the dealership...

D3l7a3ch0
12-15-10, 01:32 AM
I declined a third party warranty on my 07 with 66k miles, because I have mechanic experience in a past life and it's a GM at heart--how bad can it be?

The dealer also said they could backdate such a policy for me, in the event that something catastrophic happened. I'd just have to pay for it in cash.

My main consideration was this: even if it had some blemishes or maintenance quirks, SHE'S not gonna know. She'll probably never know the difference between a normal CTS and a V, even if you explained it. but that's fine. it's nice and I don't like to lose at stoplights--the V takes care of 96% of anything I'd find myself on the line with (and driven by someone my age with a similar propensity for immaturity and pettiness)

Bottom line, drive it. do a mini commute from the dealership to some place a couple miles away. drive it hard (but let it warm up first, it might be yours soon lol). My V was straight off the truck from auction, and it had a steering pull. I griped about it, and later checked the tire pressure and it was off considerably between all the tires. I took a gamble that it was the cause. As soon as I aired them up, the steering tightened beautifully and it gave me a chance to reprogram the TPMS.

so, it might have little things wrong with it, but it could help you bargain for a better deal. BIG problems would be, oh, I don't know... a knocking noise or electrical problems. I spent a lot of time on the dealer lot, on my chest, inspecting the frame/underside as much as I could. later took it to a proper lift. no scrapes, bends, or paint. looked as good as I wanted it to.

you might want to be one of the super responsible types who actually takes the car to an independent mechanic for a once-over.

you've had a nice collection of cars. why were the M3's so short-lived? or does it just sound that way

lastly: some words of encouragement/reflection: is a CTS-V supposed to be a "good idea"? it's pushing it in that department, don't you think? BUY IT ON IMPULSE! consider your decision later! lol

good luck, have a nice V!

Castro
12-15-10, 10:34 AM
Hmmm original radiator, motor mounts, and bushings. Diff replaced at 5K miles on a 2004. You may have more parts to replace. Does it have diff whine? Oil on the shocks? Vibration on shut down?

SeksTS-V
12-15-10, 11:36 AM
Hmmm original radiator, motor mounts, and bushings. Diff replaced at 5K miles on a 2004. You may have more parts to replace. Does it have diff whine? Oil on the shocks? Vibration on shut down?

I haven't driven it yet.. trying to do all the homework I can about the car, and gain the most knowledge, before I go see it.. the car is almost 2 hours away from me, so I like to be well-informed before I make a trip.

SeksTS-V
12-15-10, 11:38 AM
My real question is if this car is a ticking-time bomb.. or if its pretty solid? I know its a hard question to answer, considering I haven't driven the car, but an educated guess based off the maintenance I posted should be good for now

I dont want to buy a car that ends up at the shop every month...

When I bought my C5 Vette, all I did was a compression test... at that time, I changed the spark plugs since they were black, and just an engine oil change. The C5 at 57k miles felt like new.

Castro
12-15-10, 01:13 PM
My advice is do all the normal used car checks, but specifically for the V: check the shocks for oil residue which indicates they are going. When you shut it off check for big vibration/weird noise (some is normal with the stock fw but not excessive) which would indicate motor mounts are shot (you can also check them for leaking fluid). While driving listen for diff whine during light accel/decel, you'll know it if it's there, it whines and typically goes away when you press the clutch. Listen/feel for parade clunk (clunking when shifting/working the clutch/reverse and 1st gear starts, etc.) or overly vibrating shifter. With the diff replaced so early one would have to assume you don't have a 3rd or 4th gen version, these being the ones less likely to explode. There is a thread on here with under car picks of the old and new versions that have a slightly different appearance.

Remember that the V does not have a caddy feel. It has engine vibrations, it has a clunky drivetrain, it's a hot rod not a bmw, it isn't very smooth in general and it isn't very easy to drive smoothly. You get used to all of this as an owner but it is different from other cars I've owned, it's not for everyone.

Houdini
12-15-10, 02:22 PM
I would agree that it probably doesn't have the latest revision diff because it was replaced so early in it's life. You'd want a diff replacement anytime after late 08...that should always be a 4th gen unit. Keep in mind there are plenty of owners with original diffs and no problems. Just don't wheel hop it lol.

It took me a long while to learn to drive the V smoothly (if you can call it that). Every now and then I can drive it like an automatic and it's smooth as silk (so it can be done) but sometimes I can be a bit jerky because of the dual mass flywheel, crappy shifter, and a clutch that needs to be bled occasionally.

Castro
12-15-10, 02:56 PM
Yep it took me a good few months to become mostly smooth with it and now it's not bad. Occasional jerkiness but that seems to be just the car's desire to go faster. She doesn't like to be babied that's for sure.

rand49er
12-15-10, 03:23 PM
Lot of good advice above.

I'd support listening to the diff while in 6th gear under a very mild acceleration at between 45-50 MPH. A little whine isn't bad, IMHO, but a screeching whine would be a red flag.

If the engine shimmies/shakes at shutdown, that would mean motor mounts are shot.

Most of everything else is what you'd check on any other car made: clutch wear (get going 50-ish MPH in 6th gear, push clutch in, let motor rev slightly, then let clutch out to see if you get any slip), brakes, shocks, tire wear, dents, chips, cracked lenses/windshield, cigarette burns on the seats, etc.

Good luck!

Stratman
12-15-10, 04:09 PM
Check the clutch fluid before you drive it. I just had mine bled during standard service and it made a huge difference in operation, pedal feel and overall smoothness. And that is at 27,000 miles. I second what everybody else said. City, it is probably more hot rod than Caddy. Once you are highway/cruising it is very well mannered. But it is never a Coupe de Ville. The car has it's quirks but I don't know what else I could've gotten for the money and been this happy with.

SeksTS-V
12-15-10, 04:56 PM
My advice is do all the normal used car checks, but specifically for the V: check the shocks for oil residue which indicates they are going. When you shut it off check for big vibration/weird noise (some is normal with the stock fw but not excessive) which would indicate motor mounts are shot (you can also check them for leaking fluid). While driving listen for diff whine during light accel/decel, you'll know it if it's there, it whines and typically goes away when you press the clutch. Listen/feel for parade clunk (clunking when shifting/working the clutch/reverse and 1st gear starts, etc.) or overly vibrating shifter. With the diff replaced so early one would have to assume you don't have a 3rd or 4th gen version, these being the ones less likely to explode. There is a thread on here with under car pics of the old and new versions that have a slightly different appearance.

what part of the shocks do i look at for the oil leek?
how much are motor mounts for the V, and how much for labor?
didnt find the thread with pics of the different differentials...



Most of everything else is what you'd check on any other car made: clutch wear (get going 50-ish MPH in 6th gear, push clutch in, let motor rev slightly, then let clutch out to see if you get any slip), brakes, shocks, tire wear, dents, chips, cracked lenses/windshield, cigarette burns on the seats, etc.

Good luck!

how does the car/clutch pedal feel if it slips?
I've always like to go 40-50mph in 6th gear, punch the gas, if the RPMs climb but my speed doesnt, its silppin...

rand49er
12-15-10, 05:08 PM
... how does the car/clutch pedal feel if it slips?
I've always like to go 40-50mph in 6th gear, punch the gas, if the RPMs climb but my speed doesnt, its silppin...Oh, if it does that, then it's slipping real bad. My method (I think) would detect slip before it got that bad. If it doesn't grab when you let the clutch out, but the RPMs just drop slowly, you've got some slip.

If left engaged and it slips just by giving it gas, I'd drive straight to the clutch store with plastic in my hand.

PISNUOFF
12-15-10, 05:29 PM
I've had all of the item you listed replaced in my '07, besides the radio. Don't let some people scare you off with talk about replacing all the bushings, motor mounts and broken differentials. Remember this is an open forum and my 12 year old could register and post his thoughts. If you're just going to drive it like a normal human being, you'll be fine with just going over the normal used car items (leaks, etc.). When you buy it, just don't launch it so hard that the wheels spin and start hopping and don't bang second gear and your diff should be fine.

Castro
12-15-10, 06:17 PM
I've had all of the item you listed replaced in my '07, besides the radio. Don't let some people scare you off with talk about replacing all the bushings, motor mounts and broken differentials. Remember this is an open forum and my 12 year old could register and post his thoughts. If you're just going to drive it like a normal human being, you'll be fine with just going over the normal used car items (leaks, etc.). When you buy it, just don't launch it so hard that the wheels spin and start hopping and don't bang second gear and your diff should be fine.

Yeah exactly, since we're using the forum for troubleshooting it comes off as negative, people rarely post when there is nothing to report and things are fine. I bought my 2005 knowing that the mounts and diff bushing were shot and talked them down significantly on price since I wanted to upgrade anyway. Mounts I think are $300? Don't remember the labor but mine wasn't too bad.

Since buying mine in April I've done all the mounts and driveline bushings but got a big price consession so not bad at all. Don't be afraid just talk them down and take the plunge, you'll be in good hands here.

SeksTS-V
12-16-10, 05:25 PM
good info here guys..
can some of you PM me what price I should ask for.. please PM, dont post. thanks!

D3l7a3ch0
12-16-10, 10:07 PM
call your potential finance company with the VIN and ask them what the black book value is

SeksTS-V
12-17-10, 12:07 PM
call your potential finance company with the VIN and ask them what the black book value is

i just want to know the market value - i dont care what any book says

SeksTS-V
12-17-10, 12:08 PM
Any last words of wisdom, advice, or specific areas to look at? I will see the car tomorrow. Im pretty excited, I dont want my excitement to make me skip any flaws. I need to make a list of "things to look for" and take it with me.

PISNUOFF
12-17-10, 12:49 PM
i just want to know the market value - i dont care what any book says

The black book is what dealers go by when they buy cars at auction. It's good info to have.

1. Drive the car at 45 mph in 4th gear and listen for a loud whine coming from under the back seat/trunk. Some noise is OK, just not excessively loud.
2. Feel for any engine vibration around 2000 rpm, its a sign of a bad clutch/flywheel.
3. Listen to the motor while idling. Listen through the wheel wells to see if there is any knocking coming from the bottom end of the motor, most do it a little but a loud knock is bad and usually a sign of a well 'used' motor.
4. Look for signs of leaks. Most can be fixed easliy by replacing seals that are all mostly less than $25 each. I'd be wary if I saw a leak coming from inside the bell housing as it's a sign of a leaking rear main seal or trans input seal, both are not quick fixes and require dropping the trans to fix.

Castro
12-17-10, 02:37 PM
Also slip the clutch in 1st and reverse a few times and see if there is chatter or clunkiness, it should be minimal. Look for build up of rubber on the rear wheel well/bumper area. Work the sunrooof, seat heaters, change the cd, and if the g-meter reads over 1.00 ask him what he was doing.

SeksTS-V
12-17-10, 02:47 PM
The black book is what dealers go by when they buy cars at auction. It's good info to have.

1. Drive the car at 45 mph in 4th gear and listen for a loud whine coming from under the back seat/trunk. Some noise is OK, just not excessively loud.
2. Feel for any engine vibration around 2000 rpm, its a sign of a bad clutch/flywheel.
3. Listen to the motor while idling. Listen through the wheel wells to see if there is any knocking coming from the bottom end of the motor, most do it a little but a loud knock is bad and usually a sign of a well 'used' motor.
4. Look for signs of leaks. Most can be fixed easliy by replacing seals that are all mostly less than $25 each. I'd be wary if I saw a leak coming from inside the bell housing as it's a sign of a leaking rear main seal or trans input seal, both are not quick fixes and require dropping the trans to fix.

All good info here, thank you...
the engine vibration at 2000rpm.. is that while driving, or while idling rev it up and listen?
What is the bell housing?



Also slip the clutch in 1st and reverse a few times and see if there is chatter or clunkiness, it should be minimal. Look for build up of rubber on the rear wheel well/bumper area. Work the sunrooof, seat heaters, change the cd, and if the g-meter reads over 1.00 ask him what he was doing.
Define slipping the clutch in 1st?
How can i access the G meter?

PISNUOFF
12-17-10, 03:05 PM
All good info here, thank you...
the engine vibration at 2000rpm.. is that while driving, or while idling rev it up and listen?
What is the bell housing?

Eninge vibration from the clutch doesn't matter if you are driving or at a stand still. Just rev it to 2000ish rpms and see if your fillings stay in your teeth.

The bell housing is the big piece of metal betwee the transmission and the engine block. Just look directly behind the oil drain plug.




Define slipping the clutch in 1st?
How can i access the G meter?

Rev the motor to about 1200 rpm and start letting the clutch out really slow and hold it half way engaged. There should be no chatter or jerking of the car.

The 'g' meter is accessed with the steering wheel controls. Find the button on the wheel that changes the information on the left hand information center. Go to until it says 'g' in the middle. I would say anything over .80 in either direction is more than normal driving. But this doesn't mean the car has been beat on or is in bad shape, it most likely means the owner used the car for what it was meant for.

MikeV
12-18-10, 10:05 PM
I would say anything over .80 in either direction is more than normal driving. But this doesn't mean the car has been beat on or is in bad shape, it most likely means the owner used the car for what it was meant for.

Exactly. My g meter currently reads over 1.0g in both directions but I can tell you that any SOB out there would be lucky to have this car the way it has been upgraded and maintained. Its both a beauty and a beast.

PS: Get one of PISNUOFF's shifters :D

mhemsley
12-19-10, 10:09 AM
Wow! What a great accumulation of information. As another guy who's looking for a V, I've copied many of the posts and put them in a word doc. It might make a good sticky, if I had any idea how to do that - a "what to look for" sticky, as was mentioned in my thread about looking for a CTS V.

One thing I'd add is to pay attention to the CARFAX. I had a friend look at a car in Seattle for me, and he picked up on repeated trips to the dealer followed by GM buying the car back. I sent the dealer a thanks but no thanks message. Too bad, too, since it was stealth gray, and I love that color.

If anyone knows how a sticky is created, feel free to PM me or email me at jmichaelhemsley at gmail, and I'll put the word doc into a sticky.

Thanks for all the information you folks provided and for being so respectful of the questions - considerably different than what I saw on a Vette forum when I was considering a Z06.

Cheers,

Mike

SeksTS-V
12-21-10, 01:50 PM
Went and inspected the car over the weekend...looked thoroughly, inside out...crawled underneath the car, no oil leak marks anywhere

some more info that I didn't know at the time of posting the thread:
motor mounts changed around 45k miles
flywheel had been replaced once at 45k, a second time around 47k when the clutch and stuff was changed
car has satellite radio, so it has a stupid antenna on the rear glass.. not sure if it can be removed?

when the engine shuts down, it does have a slight shrudder
there is a slight whinning sound from the rear diff, its not loud nor consistent, so i think its safe to say the diff is good

dvd disc was missing (is it expensive?)

driver rear 1/4 panel resprayed, but i pulled away all trunk carpets - no sign of accident, must have been a dent or respray due to scratches perhaps

tags expire this month, and plates were from Illinois, so must be paid

oil said 3% life

negotiated down to a fair price.. driving to the bank the check engine light turned on.. owner didnt have time to have it checked out by the mechanic due to having a flight to catch, so we dropped the deal til he returns... (i wouldnt be able to get it smogged with a check engine light on, and im not willing to risk a high dollar repair bill)

bhendricks
12-21-10, 02:31 PM
Wow! What a great accumulation of information. As another guy who's looking for a V, I've copied many of the posts and put them in a word doc. It might make a good sticky, if I had any idea how to do that - a "what to look for" sticky, as was mentioned in my thread about looking for a CTS V.

One thing I'd add is to pay attention to the CARFAX. I had a friend look at a car in Seattle for me, and he picked up on repeated trips to the dealer followed by GM buying the car back. I sent the dealer a thanks but no thanks message. Too bad, too, since it was stealth gray, and I love that color.

If anyone knows how a sticky is created, feel free to PM me or email me at jmichaelhemsley at gmail, and I'll put the word doc into a sticky.

Thanks for all the information you folks provided and for being so respectful of the questions - considerably different than what I saw on a Vette forum when I was considering a Z06.

Cheers,

Mike


Great info here, I just picked up a 2004 with 44K and I'm looking to check the items mentioned here. A friend of mine sells used cars and has told me to never trust a CarFax report. I had him investigate a 2005 V last year that had been on a frame straightener but the CarFax never showed any indication of such an accident or repair.

Thanks,

Ben

MikeV
12-21-10, 04:03 PM
negotiated down to a fair price.. driving to the bank the check engine light turned on.. owner didnt have time to have it checked out by the mechanic due to having a flight to catch, so we dropped the deal til he returns... (i wouldnt be able to get it smogged with a check engine light on, and im not willing to risk a high dollar repair bill)

Oh that stinks. Next time something like that happens just pull into most any auto parts store. They'll throw a scanner on it for free. Or if not they probably have a $50 scanner just buy it and check it out. Probably something minor and you could have gotten the deal done.

SeksTS-V
12-21-10, 06:08 PM
Oh that stinks. Next time something like that happens just pull into most any auto parts store. They'll throw a scanner on it for free. Or if not they probably have a $50 scanner just buy it and check it out. Probably something minor and you could have gotten the deal done.

like i said, he was tight on time...

kevm14
12-21-10, 08:19 PM
Great info here, I just picked up a 2004 with 44K and I'm looking to check the items mentioned here. A friend of mine sells used cars and has told me to never trust a CarFax report. I had him investigate a 2005 V last year that had been on a frame straightener but the CarFax never showed any indication of such an accident or repair.

Thanks,

Ben

Agreed. Carfax reports seem to result in two scenarios:

1) The seller getting screwed because of a scary-sounding report in Carfax for something like a crack in a bumper from someone driving into your rear bumper at 4mph. Granted I'd want to make sure the bumper was solid underneath if I was the buyer, but if the car was repaired properly (which wouldn't be very hard at all) the buyer would STILL insist on money off JUST because of the "history" in Carfax. And the buyer may be thinking that if he resells the car, he needs to not take a bath on it himself in case the NEXT buyer acts the same way. I think that sucks for the seller, and every successive seller of the car.

2) The situation you described where they simply did not provide info, yet claim to be THE SOURCE for that kind of info, for the consumer.

Andringa
12-22-10, 11:52 AM
car has satellite radio, so it has a stupid antenna on the rear glass.. not sure if it can be removed?
The antenna on the rear glass is On-Star and can be removed if you don't plan to use the service; the XM antenna is the thing on the roof.


when the engine shuts down, it does have a slight shrudder
With 15k on the motor mounts they could be bad again, did you get a good look at them from under the car?


dvd disc was missing (is it expensive?)
They cost $200 and the only place to get them is www.gmnavdisc.com, someone on the forum may have an old version laying around that you could get significantly cheaper if you don't need to have the latest maps.


driver rear 1/4 panel resprayed, but i pulled away all trunk carpets - no sign of accident, must have been a dent or respray due to scratches perhaps

I would try to find out who did the work and why, just in case you have problems with it down the road.


oil said 3% life
This surprised me, I have heard differing opinions, but I change my oil before it gets this low. If I was trying to sell my V and the oil needed to be changed, I would do it before trying to sell it.


negotiated down to a fair price.. driving to the bank the check engine light turned on.. owner didnt have time to have it checked out by the mechanic due to having a flight to catch, so we dropped the deal til he returns... (i wouldnt be able to get it smogged with a check engine light on, and im not willing to risk a high dollar repair bill)
Smart move, I wouldn't buy if it is throwing unknown codes either.

If those are the biggest issues, it sounds like a decent car.